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Copyright © 2004 AOPA.
| Training Tips |
| PREDICTIONS, NOT PROMISES |
Guaranteed weather forecasts-pilots can only dream of them. Envision never having to abort a mission or divert to an alternate airport for weather or never having to make an uncertain go/no-go decision. Farewell to inadvertent encounters with instrument meteorological conditions and unexpectedly severe surface winds.
For now it's science fiction. Meanwhile, pilots must train for weather that fails to live up to its notices, carefully assembling and assessing weather information before flights. In all cases, some of that information will be of high quality, some will not. As a rule, the fresher the information, the better. On a cross-country, the weakest link may be forecast conditions for the return leg, hours hence. Recognize this and hold surprises to a minimum.
Airborne, you can update your earlier weather briefing using Flight Watch, the En route Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) as explained in Chapter 7 of the Aeronautical Information Manual, or by calling flight service on the locally designated frequency. Radio frequency congested? Consider this suggestion offered by Mark Twombly in his April 1997 Flight Training column, "Continuing Ed: The Weather Ahead": "If the Flight Watch frequency is really cooking and you've been told to 'stand by, you're number four,' take a moment to listen. There's a good chance you'll hear someone in your general vicinity posing the same question you'd like answered-'What's the weather ahead?'"
While flying, compare reported surface conditions-wind speed and direction, cloud layers, temperature/dew-point spreads-to those predicted earlier by monitoring recorded terminal information or automated weather reporting broadcasts at airports adjacent to your route. Check for hazardous in-flight weather advisory service (HIWAS) broadcasts (discussed in the August 22, 2003 "Training Tips") over navaids. If the forecast remains unchanged when you update your briefing, seek out any recent pilot reports (pireps) in your area for early signs of inconsistency. During preflight planning, of course, you arm yourself with notices to airmen (notams) at potential alternate airports by clicking on "notams and TFRs" in the pull-down menu under the "Flight Bag" tab of the redesigned AOPA Flight Training Web site.
Aloft, many valuable resources are available, as Thomas A. Horne describes in his November 1998 AOPA Flight Training article "Weather on the Fly." As long as weather deals surprises, pilots need to know how to minimize them.
| Your Partner in Training |
|Flight training devices (FTDs) are great tools for learning how an aircraft responds or handles and the procedures used by pilots. And flight simulator games, for instance, are useful for demonstrating some VFR maneuvers to students. Learn about these systems on AOPA Online. If you need more information, call our experienced pilots-available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern to answer your questions toll-free at 800/872-2672. |
AOPA Flight Training Members have access to all of the features within AOPA Online. Login information is available online.
| Flight Training News |
| BE A PILOT TV CAMPAIGN NETS PROSPECTIVE PILOTS |
Be A Pilot's advertising blitz generated 13,658 pilot prospects through June 13, an 18-percent increase over adjusted 2003 results, the organization announced. The 2004 campaign includes new 60-second spots in addition to the 10- and 30-second spots. Be A Pilot promotes general aviation to the public through media outlets and promotions such as a $49 coupon for an introductory flight lesson. For more information, see the Web site.
STUDENTS BUILD BIPLANE IN HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM
Students in the Aeronautics Academy at Norwalk High School in Corona, California, will be earning graduation credits by helping to build a Stolp Starduster, an aerobatic biplane, with tools and materials furnished by Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. That's just one facet of the school's aeronautics program, headed by flight instructor Tim Hanna. It began with ground school classes for private pilot certificates and instrument ratings and in the future will include courses in aircraft construction, avionics, and powerplant maintenance. The goal is to eventually cover all aspects of aviation, and Hanna's personal aim is to get students involved while they are contemplating a career path. For more information, e-mail Hanna.
| Inside AOPA |
| MORE STUDENTS GOOD SIGN FOR GA, BOYER TELLS PILOTS |
A slight increase in the number of new student pilots for 2003 is cause for optimism about the health of general aviation, AOPA President Phil Boyer said. At Pilot Town Meetings in Texas and Ohio last week, Boyer met with some 800 pilots to talk about the state of GA and to discuss members' specific concerns, including AOPA's fight to preserve GA airports in those areas. In 2003, the number of new students increased 2 percent; more than 16,000 new pilots are expected to be added to the rolls by 2005. Other signs of economic improvement include an 11-percent boost in sales of new single-engine aircraft in 2003 and greater activity in the avionics market as owners upgrade their aircraft, Boyer said.
PROTECT YOURSELF AS CAMPAIGN SEASON GENERATES MORE TFRs
In a matter of weeks, the two major political parties will formally nominate their candidates for president, and the pace of the campaign will increase. In all likelihood, so will the number of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs). That's where AOPA's Legal Services Plan can help. By signing up before any sort of violation occurs, AOPA members gain access to attorneys across the country. The plan is only $26 per year for student or private pilots and $52 per year for flight instructors. To learn more or to enroll, visit AOPA Online or call 800/872-2672.
HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE?
To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
| Training Products |
| SHARPEN SKILLS WITH 'MENTAL MATH FOR PILOTS' |
There's no getting around math when you're learning to fly, and sooner or later you might need to perform a math equation while in flight. The second edition of Mental Math for Pilots by Ron McElroy is aimed at getting you to rev up your brainpower so that you can perform a wide range of practical math problems frequently used in flight. The book provides quick recall and retention aids for such tasks as calculating temperature conversions, crosswind components, time-speed-distance problems, reciprocal headings, visual descent points, and others. Mental Math for Pilots sells for $24.95 and may be ordered online from Aviation Supplies and Academics Inc.
| Final Exam |
| Question: I'm taking early morning flight lessons this summer. On several occasions, we've had fog, and I've been asked to check the dew-point temperature before driving to the airport. Is there some easy-to-understand information on what dew point is and how to anticipate a foggy morning? |
Answer: Dew point is a measure of the actual water vapor in the air. It is the temperature to which air must be cooled in order to become saturated and, therefore, reach 100 percent relative humidity. At this point, fog or clouds are almost certain to form. When the temperature/dew-point spread is less than 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius), be on the lookout for fog. This rule of thumb is important to remember, but there is a lot more to know about how dew point and other moisture measurements influence aviation weather. A search of AOPA Online, using "dew point" as the key word, will list many weather articles. Start with a "Dew Point Review."
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail to [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don't forget the online archive of "Final Exam" questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
| Picture Perfect |
|The AOPA Online Gallery allows you to download your favorite aviation images to use for wallpaper, send a personalized e-card, and order high-quality prints to be shipped directly to your doorstep. Search the hundreds of fabulous images in our archives and select your favorites today! For more details, see AOPA Online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| FLYING DESTINATIONS THIS WEEKEND: |
Millington, Tennessee. The Memphis Belle Summer Swing takes place June 26 at Millington Municipal (NQA). This event will include warbirds, antique aircraft and cars, motorcycles, FAA seminars, a barbecue lunch, and airplane rides. All proceeds will go to the restoration of the Memphis Belle. Contact Jim Harris, 901/383-3104 or 662/893-3289, or visit the Web site.
Davenport, Iowa. The Quad City Airshow takes place June 26 and 27 at Davenport Airport (DVN). For more information, contact 563/322-7469, or visit the Web site.
Ramona, California. The Tenth Annual Ramona Airshow takes place June 26 and 27 at Ramona (RNM). Featured activities include hot air balloon launches, antique aircraft displays, a hot rod/dragster display, and military jet aerobatics. Contact Richard Selinger, 760/788-3366, or visit the Web site.
Mayville, New York. A Tailwheel Aircraft Fly-in takes place July 3 at Dart Airport and Aviation Museum (D79). Calling all tailwheels for fun, flying, food, and camaraderie. Visit the free aviation museum. Rain date July 4. Contact Bob or Greg Dart, 716/753-2160.
St. Petersburg, Florida. A Fourth of July Airport Party takes place July 4 at Albert Whitted (SPG). Bring your family to a night of live entertainment, food, and fireworks, sponsored by Bay Air Flying Service. Contact Julie DeStefano, 727/822-4217, or visit the Web site.
Rantoul, Illinois. The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum Open House takes place July 3 at Rantoul National Aviation Center-Frank Elliott Field (TIP). Fly into Rantoul, museum is on the field. Enjoy free admission, open cockpits, and other events to celebrate Rantoul's 150th year. Contact Tracy Lunquist, 217/893-1613, or visit the Web site.
To submit an event to the calendar or to search all events visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online .
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic is scheduled in Pittsburgh, July 10 and 11. A clinic is also scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida, July 17 and 18. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online. Can't make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Renewal Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 28 through 31. For complete details on topics and schedules, see AOPA Online.